Having no social life makes it difficult to make new friends

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Nightingale121
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26 Jan 2014, 7:42 am

Since about four years I have had no friends. But after school I thought I could make a new start with new people. I now make a volunteer job. Related to this I have meetings with other volunteers about once a month. I came to the first meeting, nobody knew each other except two people who started their job together and already live together. At the end of the day there were groups, it was like they now just talk to each other as acquaintances, know the names of most of the others and can make jokes and other stuff together. I don´t know how people make it, I need much more time to know a person good enough to make things like this. I especially have problems remembering many names and faces at the same time. And even if I think a person is nice, I probably won´t talk to her because I don´t know how to start.
But the biggest part of my problem is this: The conversation often starts with talking about hobbies or the things you do after work or at the weekends. Tha typical answers are: Parties, meeting friends, go shopping or something like this. I don´t do anything of those things. I guess I am a really boring person to them and I am afraid that they find out that I have no friends because at school people always laughed at me because of that. So I am not very open and when someone asked about my freetime I kind of stopped the topic very quickly.
Do you have any ideas what I could do to get to know one of them closer? Is it normal that people don´t want to know me because I am too boring? I guess the girl I talked to and stopped it quickly will now think I am kind of strange but I just didn´t know what I should say because I couldn´t give an answer she expected and was afraid of her thinking I have strange hobbies.
Another person already thinks I am kind of angry or something like this most of the time, but I am not, my voice just seems to suggest it and I don´t exactly know why and how I can stop this problem.


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Soccer22
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26 Jan 2014, 10:00 am

What are your hobbies and why do you think they're strange? People also find me boring because I'm not interested in the same things as people my age. But I have found two people who could care less because they found me interesting. I know a lot of random facts and I'm really logical and my two friends always say to me "you're so wise!". They appreciate that I'm not just a pretty Barbie and I can actually share knowledge with them and give good advice. You'll find someone like that eventually but you have to be true to self to find them. In high school I tried to act a certain way to win over friends but it only worked temporarily. I found true friends after I acted like myself. I would just focus on volunteering and if you meet a friend in the process, then that's a bonus! Don't do volunteering with all this pressure that you NEED to make friends or else you're a failure, because that's not useful.



wowiexist
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26 Jan 2014, 7:34 pm

Maybe you aren't interested in the same things as them, but there must be something you are interested in that someone there would relate to. Maybe you have a TV show you watch that someone else there watches too. I am not the best at talking to people, but I know a lot about sports, so when a group of guys are together talking about sports I know I can contribute to the conversation.



thewhitrbbit
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27 Jan 2014, 10:55 am

Yeah, what are your hobbies? You never know, people may find your hobbies interesting even if they don't relate to them.

Part of meeting people is opening up and sharing things about yourself.



Nightingale121
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28 Jan 2014, 7:34 am

Soccer22 wrote:
What are your hobbies and why do you think they're strange?

1. I cut out and collect articels of old TV guides. I guess that´s far away from a "normal" hobby, I don´t know anybody who does this kind of collecting, too. Furthermore I am, related to this interested in some movies and TV shows but the biggest part of that is collecting information that are not very interesting for others (like the year of the start of a show, the names of the actors...)
2. I try to invent my own language. Because I am the only person who knows it, it is difficut to talk to others about it, the only result would be that I teach them about it, but that´s not a conversation but a monologue.
3. I play the accordion (just for myself, I don´t take lessons anymore) and sing in a choir. Although playing an instrument is pretty normal, many people are irritated about my choice. I am not sure why, but today I saw that there´s at least one person with the same impression here: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt248287.html
In the choir are only persons who are much older than me (they are about 40 years old and older). Most people don´t understand why I am hanging around/doing things with people so far from my age.
4. I am also interested in Asperger´s Syndrome and autism, but I don´t want to talk about this to them.

Soccer22 wrote:
People also find me boring because I'm not interested in the same things as people my age. But I have found two people who could care less because they found me interesting. I know a lot of random facts and I'm really logical and my two friends always say to me "you're so wise!". They appreciate that I'm not just a pretty Barbie and I can actually share knowledge with them and give good advice. You'll find someone like that eventually but you have to be true to self to find them.

I am happy for you that you found those good friends. I also know many random facts, but I never found people who found me interesting enough to become a friend of mine. I just was the clever but boring person for them.
I hope that I will find a friend like yours one day.

Soccer22 wrote:
In high school I tried to act a certain way to win over friends but it only worked temporarily. I found true friends after I acted like myself. I would just focus on volunteering and if you meet a friend in the process, then that's a bonus! Don't do volunteering with all this pressure that you NEED to make friends or else you're a failure, because that's not useful.

I did this acting too, but it was stressful and I was not good at it, so people just made fun of me trying to make friends in high school. But I started the acting because I wasn´t accepted as who I really am and I tried to make me different. Because of the long time of acting I found it now difficult just to be myself, because I was often called strange when I did it in the past.
I don´t see it as a pressure to make friends like "You HAVE TO make friends, do something for this all the time". I just want to try it and so I was searching for advice here.

wowiexist wrote:
Maybe you aren't interested in the same things as them, but there must be something you are interested in that someone there would relate to. Maybe you have a TV show you watch that someone else there watches too. I am not the best at talking to people, but I know a lot about sports, so when a group of guys are together talking about sports I know I can contribute to the conversation.

Maybe I like a TV show, they like too, but I guess I can´t just ask everybody if she is interested in show xy. I have already found out what kind of music some of them like, but it´s not the same I like.

thewhitrbbit wrote:
Yeah, what are your hobbies? You never know, people may find your hobbies interesting even if they don't relate to them.
Part of meeting people is opening up and sharing things about yourself.

Maybe they find it interesting but if they don´t know much about, it wouldn´t be a conversation, I just would tell about my interests and they only ask until they know enough for themself and are no longer interested.
I know that I have to share things about myself to get to know new people better but I don´t always know when somebody starts to be bored of my information, so I tend to tell rather only few information than too much.


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Aspie19828
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28 Jan 2014, 7:55 am

You possibly have social anxiety disorder that makes it hard for you to interact with people. You may use avoidance of social interactions as a coping strategy and people interpret you as being weird and they reject you. It is hard to make friends when you have social anxiety.



personworm
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30 Jan 2014, 5:40 pm

Hey Nightingale121
My situation is a bit different to yours. See, I can socialise quite well (in some situations anyway) but I've never had any real desire to! I have on occasion given work colleagues my number when they ask for it but I usually regret it 10 seconds later and hope they don't make a habit of texting me.
I was wondering. If you did make a group of friends at this volunteer job(particularly after having no friends for years), how good would you be with handling the obligations that would come with it? My issue is that I usually see forming friendship s as creating obligations! Not a healthy way of looking at it I know!

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Nightingale121
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04 Feb 2014, 3:04 pm

Aspie19828 wrote:
You possibly have social anxiety disorder that makes it hard for you to interact with people. You may use avoidance of social interactions as a coping strategy and people interpret you as being weird and they reject you. It is hard to make friends when you have social anxiety.

After reading your post I started a research on this topic because I didn´t know very much about it. Now I know more but am not sure if my problem is well explained by social anxiety. For example I have no problem to speak to strangers and ask for a way. Furthermore I made a poll in the city and had no problem or fear. I think it depends more on the content of a conversation. If I know what to say/ask - for example when I did the poll or I talk to somebody about a specific topic, I have less problems and I am not afraid that people think I am awkward or that they could see that I am nervous (because I am less nervous in those situations). i also have no problems with presentations if I had time to prepare it. In opposite to that I have only problems with non-specific social conventions when I am not sure what I am supposed to do. Do you know if people with social anxiety also have problems to recognize what the right behaviour is in a situation or if they know it but are just too afraid to show their theoretical knowledge?

personworm wrote:
My situation is a bit different to yours. See, I can socialise quite well (in some situations anyway) but I've never had any real desire to! I have on occasion given work colleagues my number when they ask for it but I usually regret it 10 seconds later and hope they don't make a habit of texting me.
I was wondering. If you did make a group of friends at this volunteer job(particularly after having no friends for years), how good would you be with handling the obligations that would come with it? My issue is that I usually see forming friendship s as creating obligations! Not a healthy way of looking at it I know!

I often thought about this issue, too. I had no desire to socialize most of the time of my life too, especially when I was younger. I also thought: "Why should I have friends? I just have to do things for a friendship, have less freetime for me alone and there are many obligation connected to a friendship." When I look back this was a better time than it is now because wanting to have a friend and not doing well with making them is worse than being happy without friends. But sometimes I think that it is sad for me to have no one to talk to or something like this. But I also think that it could be difficult to have a friend who accepts that I want her as a friend but that I also need time alone and who understands that I am not an usually friend because I guess that I even don´t know what exactly all the obligations of a friendship are, so how can I handle them?
So I can understand your opinion, too. But I think trying a friendship and seeing that I am not person for it although I sometimes have a desire for one is better than never try it. Maybe there´s a chance that it will work.


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Billw1628
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04 Feb 2014, 3:34 pm

Mine can be considered pretty boring, too. Most of what I do are considered solitary activities- social media, blogging, etc. I wish I can go out more. But because I have more important expenses, I can't do much unless it is during the times of the year that I can (in form of professional networking events).

I think in terms of conversational topics with people, I had this problem myself and still do in situations where I am not expected to meet anyone I know. My theory is that if you don't feel you have the motivation or incentives to socialize, then it's very hard to come up with appropriate topics of discussion when you try to do it with people.



alessi
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04 Feb 2014, 4:07 pm

You could try something like asking them how their weekend was, and then if (for example) they say 'it was great, I went roller skating', you could have a little talk about roller skating (or whatever they mentioned as their interest).
Then next time you saw them you could ask how the roller skating (or other topic) was going.
You could gradually introduce new topics if they seemed appropriate.
The main thing I have found with trying to get to know people us that it is best not to talk about myself too much and never to get started on my current obsession.

Asking people general questions about themselves is good. Nothing too personal of course.
People love talking about themselves when someone is interested in them.



Nightingale121
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07 Feb 2014, 10:25 am

@ Billw1628: I agree with your theory.

@ alessi: Thank you for your nice advice. I think I will try something like this when I meet someone next time.


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lease29
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18 Apr 2014, 5:41 am

I do have a few friends after years of finding it hard to make them as I don't have a lot of interests most things that women like e.g cooking, gardening, girls nights I don't particularly like these sorts of things. Sure I like going shopping and wearing nice clothes but being a woman I have found it hard to make friends with other women I don't relate to them well my social life is better than it was 5 years ago I find it hard to relate to people that I meet as I find it difficult to share interests and relate to topics of conversation. Years ago I didn't go anywhere after work would just stay home so have made steps to socialise and get out to meet people. I would say I am boring too!

I don't party drink dance etc hehe most people I know like to socialise in that way I go to Toastmasters and do volunteer work other than that on the weekends I spend most of my time alone and I don't mind it all that much. My hobbies are puzzles, walking, going to cafes, shopping at the mall mainly a lot of solitary hobbies I guess I am a loner :-)

I am just not a conversationalist and have a bit of social anxiety and will always have trouble in certain social situations I find it may be an idea to keep busy and when you meet people ask more questions about them in order to get to know them.



Milanor
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18 Apr 2014, 10:17 pm

I've been in the same boat since graduating from college a little over a year ago. I joined a local public speaking club near my hometown and pretty much the same scenario as you mentioned. The club members in my club are pretty friendly and welcoming, but outside of the club, there has been very few that actually stay in contact or even asked me out for lunch/coffee/hangouts, so I suppose they're just merely acquaintances.

Also, similarly, when I took up volunteering at my local library, I had some people who were again, friendly, but never really connected or became close :(

I wish I had some useful advice, but all I can say is maybe asking around since I myself am struggling with the same situation as well and I know just as much as you do :(